32
votes
6answers
7k views

Why are there so many different pasta shapes?

Do the different pasta shapes serve any purpose, or are they just for fun? Some difference appear to be cultural (lo mein vs spaghetti), but there are so many different syles of Italian pasta, is ...
24
votes
5answers
70k views

Why let dough rise twice?

I'm just wondering, what's the point of letting dough rise twice? I've seen a bunch of recipes in the form: Mix dough together and knead Let it rise Knead again Let it rise again Why do they do ...
19
votes
4answers
8k views

What varieties of potato would be good for chips / french fries?

What varieties of potato would be good for making chips / french fries that can be cooked in a deep fryer to give a nice golden crunch on the outside, but still be nice and fluffy in the middle?
16
votes
2answers
14k views

What does gluten “do” in baking?

I saw many questions regarding converting baking recipes towards gluten-free, and it seems it's not an easy process. But none of the questions I came across helped me understanding what gluten ...
33
votes
14answers
9k views

How to clean mushrooms?

Some people say cleaning with water removes the taste from mushrooms. But if I don't use water the mushrooms will carry a lot of dust. Do you have any techniques for cleaning mushroom so I don't ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

How can I make McDonald's type French Fries

I have eaten french fries from most popular fast food joints. McDonald's has been the best by far. Crisp & crunchy on the outside yet moist inside, still maintaining the potato taste. Also it ...
10
votes
4answers
24k views

How do I prevent food from sticking to a standard (non-coated) pan?

On cooking shows I always see cooks using ordinary pans without non-stick coatings, and nothing ever seems to stick to their pans. But when I try the same recipes at home, my food always sticks. ...
44
votes
8answers
17k views

Is it safe to eat moldy cheese if you slice off the edges?

Whenever my cheese gets too old and has a bit of blue/white mold on the side, I'm not sure whether I should throw it completely out or not. Is it safe to eat if I cut off the edge? Should I cut a bit ...
27
votes
6answers
46k views

How can brown stains be removed from pots and pans?

I haven't been cooking for long — recent college grad — so I'm doing a lot of experimentation and making a lot of rookie mistakes. One of them is shown here for your viewing pleasure: ...
24
votes
3answers
12k views

Never ending soup; is it actually safe?

In the poor student or youth worker days it was popular to have never ending soup; a large pot on the stove that was topped up with new and leftover ingredients when available. Normally the pot was ...
17
votes
6answers
380k views

I need to quickly and safely thaw frozen ground beef, what are my options?

Since reading the answers to my question about defrosting meat on the counter I've been good about giving my meat time to defrost in the refrigerator. However, my plans for tonight have changed and ...
16
votes
2answers
1k views

How deeply will the flavors in a brine penetrate chicken? (experiment results)

I'm not asking about salt or "juiciness". I think there is enough evidence here and elsewhere to answer that question with "pretty deep, or all the way to the bone". My question concerns spices and ...
16
votes
12answers
50k views

How do I prevent coconut milk from separating in Thai curry?

It seems like every single attempt I've made at making a Thai-style coconut curry ends up with the sauce mixture separating. Although it usually still tastes good, the coconut ends up looking like it ...
14
votes
1answer
579 views

Are there any general principles of ingredient substitutions?

When trying to determine if an ingredient can be substituted in a recipe, are there any general principles or guidelines that apply?
13
votes
2answers
3k views

How to throw a pizza dough?

If there are different instructions for different sizes, those would be appreciated as well.
11
votes
2answers
790 views

How does salmonella get into eggs?

Since a few hundred million eggs have been recalled, I'm wondering how salmonella gets into eggs in the first place. Is it getting on the shells from the environment (or the hen)? Is it inside the ...
11
votes
8answers
24k views

How do you cook corn on the cob on BBQ?

Do you remove peel and wrap it in tin foil ? Do you put it directly on gril (with peel) ? How much time ?
11
votes
3answers
38k views

Rule of thumb for cooking or baking different quantities?

I often want to cook double quantities from that stated in a recipe - say, twice the quantity of pasta bake or casserole (all in one dish), or two cakes instead of one (in separate tins). Is there a ...
10
votes
5answers
730 views

What are good references for Gluten free baking

I have several members of my family who are GF. Baking for them has become a real challenge. I'm looking for good references to learn to understand how to work with this limitation in my baking. What ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

“Instant” leftover rice? Making leftover-like rice without the wait? (as in for fried rice)

I have a bunch of recipes which use leftover cold rice: rice salads, fried rice, rice cakes, and similar. However, I rarely have large quantities of rice left over in the fridge when I want them, ...
33
votes
15answers
138k views

Does active dry yeast really expire?

I was cleaning out my spice cabinet and deep in the back I found two packages (e.g., six envelopes) of active dry Red Star yeast that expired in March 2009, 15 months ago as of writing this question. ...
25
votes
4answers
3k views

Why do some recipes recommend Kosher salt?

Is it healthy or more tasty?
17
votes
3answers
8k views

Does adding salt when soaking dry beans toughen or soften the skin of the bean?

I have heard opinions on both sides of this. The the latest answer on this site, says salt softens bean skins quoted Cooks Illustrated (I can't see the article, but I trust CI), while another answer ...
13
votes
5answers
8k views

How do you halve a recipe that calls for 1 egg?

How do you halve a recipe that calls for 1 egg? Clarification: I do not want to have to make the full recipe just to use half and I don't have powdered egg substitute.
11
votes
3answers
7k views

Can I sharpen a knife with sandpaper?

So I was thinking, instead of purchasing a dedicated (and expensive) whetstone with limited coarse(ness?) range, why not use patches of sandpaper in increasing grit numbers (getting finer), stretched ...
8
votes
10answers
36k views

How to clean a clogged Misto oil sprayer/spritzer?

I use a Misto oil spritzer. You fill it up with oil and pump it up and spray a pan with it. It's gotten clogged up so that it just squirts a steady stream of oil (not a spray). Any ideas how to ...
6
votes
6answers
64k views

Are there any substitutes for Shortening?

I was specifically thinking about the Crisco shortening that is used in baking.
5
votes
1answer
8k views

Why do my pizzas get such hard crusts?

I usually buy ready made pizza base and use it for baking pizzas. All of my pizzas get a very hard and crispy outer crust. Why so? I thought of brushing some oil on the pizza base before I bake it but ...
23
votes
10answers
102k views

How to quickly soften brown sugar

I had some brown sugar that didn't get properly sealed and so now it's solid as a rock. What's the quickest way to soften it up and get rid of the clumps? Folks have suggested leaving an apple with ...
20
votes
4answers
1k views

How does the way that I cut my garlic affect the taste of my food?

I've seen recipes that called for coarsely chopped garlic and recipes that called for finely chopped or minced garlic. What affect does that cut have on the final taste of my dish? What about crushed ...
17
votes
8answers
19k views

Why is it important to add salt during cooking?

This may seem like a silly question, but given that each persons' tastes are different why is it that salt is added during cooking? It seems better to just allow the person eating the food to add ...
16
votes
4answers
94k views

What does it mean to “fold in” an ingredient into a mix?

I see this in baking recipes, but I've never been quite clear on the difference between mixing and "folding."
14
votes
1answer
3k views

Does putting salt in coffee really remove bitterness?

I have seen people claim that putting salt in coffee enhances the flavour or removes bitterness. Example. Does this really work? If it does, how does it work? Is there something chemical going on, or ...
12
votes
3answers
2k views

Quinoa in a Rice Cooker?

I’ve recently discovered the loveliness of Quinoa, and the joy of buying it in bulk at Costco, so I’ll be making a lot of it in the near future. I’m wondering if I can use my rice cooker to make the ...
11
votes
4answers
9k views

Why does my steak turn out well done when the temperature probe says it's only rare?

Is it because I used a poor cut of meat? Did I not cook it fast enough? Should I have removed it from the heat sooner? Is my cut too thick? Is my temperature probe too conservative?
10
votes
5answers
6k views

Is it possible to make cookies without creaming the butter?

I love to make some cookies but have limited kitchen appliances. I don't want to cream the butter and sugar by hand -- I did that before and it was not fun! Is it possible to make good cookies ...
9
votes
6answers
44k views

Is pyrex safe to use on a gas burner?

There seems to be conflicting views on whether a pyrex dish can be used on a gas burner. Can anybody here provide a definitive answer?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the secret behind “always soft” ice cream?

Since humanity discovered the ice cream in a frozen cave in Antarctica, it was so hard you had to wait 15-20 minutes to be able to use it as food and not as a blunt object for a Hitchcock's plot. ...
7
votes
3answers
62k views

How long will homemade salad dressing stay good in the fridge?

How long can I keep salad dressings that I made? Since this is probably affected by what it's made up of, let's say we're talking about different salad dressings made from a combination of the ...
6
votes
5answers
36k views

How do you cook calamari / squid and avoid making it tough?

I am having a hard time with this seemly simple 'snack'. The calamari and squid is usually given to me by my neighbor who is a seafood monger. It's frozen and a mix of baby octopus and squid ...
6
votes
3answers
7k views

How to measure the temperature of a pan?

When I need to know if a pan is above or below 100 Celsius but don't have a thermometer handy, I squirt some water on it. Say I want to check for another temperature, e.g. for the Maillard reaction or ...
5
votes
2answers
2k views

Rules for refreezing food

What are the general rules regarding when can you refreeze food that was frozen and then thawed in the fridge? and what are the reasons behind them? (Hygiene? Food quality?). Let's assume for the sake ...
1
vote
2answers
1k views

Is there a general algorithm for calculating the amount of time to roast meat for?

Often when you buy meat from the store it comes with guidance on how long the meat needs to be roasted, presumably calculated as a function of its weight. Is there some well known general algorithm ...
20
votes
2answers
20k views

Why did my Turkey Stock turn into gelatin?

We took our left-over turkey carcass and parts and simmered them for a few hours with water in a pot with some herbs and veggies. After removing the solids, and separating the fat, we placed it in ...
19
votes
4answers
17k views

Does meat need to be washed before preparation?

I don't even remember where I have learned that, but I've always thought it common knowledge: Before a piece of meat gets seasoned, or malleted for tenderizing (sorry, don't know the English word for ...
17
votes
9answers
17k views

Fresh basil storage

How should fresh basil be stored? The packaging suggests that the optimal temperature is around 50°F, but I can't think of anywhere in an average kitchen at that temperature. A pantry is too warm, and ...
15
votes
5answers
12k views

How can I bake normally fried foods?

A lot of frozen, convenience foods are foods that are traditionally fried can be prepared by baking. I'm thinking of, fish sticks, french fries, tator tots, jalapeño poppers, etc. I'm lousy at deep ...
15
votes
5answers
8k views

How to work with Dried Mushrooms?

I was recently given a bag of dried mushrooms and am unsure how to work with them. What's the best way to use them?
13
votes
5answers
5k views

What is the purpose of tempering chocolate?

What is the purpose of tempering chocolate? If I'm dipping something in chocolate, can I get by with just melting the chocolate?
13
votes
6answers
26k views

Should maple syrup be stored in the refrigerator?

Is there any reason to store maple syrup in the refrigerator? It tastes better when it's a little warmer.

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